If I were to ask you whether you are creative, the chances are that you will say one of these things;
-Oh no, not me
-I can’t draw
-I could never draw in school;
-My sister has always been very creative;
-But I’m just not creative.
-I wish I was creative.
In my years as an artist, art teacher and creativity coach, I come up against these beliefs time and time again. In all arenas, from successful business people who actually art teachers themselves, there is this deep conviction in the majority of the population that they are simply not creative and that creativity is for someone else and not them.
According to the shame researcher Brene Brown, a high percentage of those she interviewed could recall a ‘creativity scar’ a point in their lives, often during their school years, related to their creativity that was so shaming, that it caused the person to completely abandon their creative identity and in so doing dramatically shifted the career and life decision that person made. That’s a pretty hefty wound right there, hidden away in so many of us. So what happened to cause it? Often it’s a throwaway comment by a teacher, peer or parent: ‘Art is not your strong point dear,’ ‘your brother is very creative, you are more science minded, you should go that route’, ‘my older child is very creative, the younger one not so much.’ As young people we internalise these pain points and they become our very beliefs about ourselves in relation to our creativity.
But what if I told you that there is NO such thing as ‘not creative.’ To be human is to be creative. Sure, we might not all be the next Van Gogh (who incidentally never sold a painting in his life and died penniless) but we are all creative and we can call benefit from a creative practice, whatever that might be.
What to do about it.
Firstly, acknowledge that ‘creativity scar’ that you carry. Most people can recall the incident that changed thing s for them. Secondly, be very kind to yourself as you venture into a creative territory. That may be enrolling in the writing class you have wanted to do for years, signing up to a local art, singing, craft or acting class or introducing your team at work to the idea of creative doing to enhance teamwork, co-operation and productivity.
As founder of Art Thinking Lab, I create bespoke creativity master class sessions for teams, that create the space to acknowledge the creativity scars so many of us carry and to use our natural creative capacities to uncover new ideas and insights about the team itself and their working practice and offering ways to embed creativity into their work going forward.
What to look out for!
When taking up creative work, your inner critic will rise up fierce and strong, questioning every move you make. This is ok. This is normal and it will always accompany the making of creative endeavours. The important thing is to keep on going despite. In our workshops, I see this happen many times during a workshop, but when we address the inner critic, who has gone unchecked in this arena for many years, breakthroughs happen!
So, how does this tie in with your own ideas about creativity and do you feel ready to bring some more of it into your life yet?!